Sight in Ayurveda
Sight is probably the sense that we use the most on a day to day basis. According to Ayurveda, the sense of sight (chakshu) is governed by fire (Tejas). We can better understand this dominance when we consider the ‘fire – Tejas’ quality of light. We perceive light when light from an illumination source, such as the sun or a bulb, bounces off of an object. This light (rupa) then travels through our eyes and hits the photo-receptors in our retinas. From here an electrochemical message is sent to our brains for our mind to interpret.
From an ayurvedic perspective, our eyes are also dominant in the fire element. Therefore, we want to counterbalance the excess heat that can build in the eyes. When we go about our day to day lives – especially at the moment – we use screens a lot, whether it be our mobile phone, tablet, or laptop. This focuses our vision in one direction. This also happens when we are driving. While we may be taking in the periphery, our eyes are generally quite centred and focused. As a result, we want to ensure that our eyes are being exercised regularly to keep them healthy.
Simple Eye Exercises
A really simple and effective exercise we can do is to look all around in different directions. Shoot your eyes off to the side, look down, and then to all corners. Another exercise is to move your eyes round and round in circles, being sure to travel in both directions. You really feel that your eyes are being well exercised when you do this! Next, focus on an object that is near and then move your focus to an object that is far away. Alternate between looking near and far. I use my hand as my ‘near’ focus, holding it with my index finger infront of my nose.
Once you have done this, take the palms of your hands and place them over your eyes. Rest them there, and feel as though you are holding your eyeballs: soothing them, calming them, cooling them. Allow your eyes to be really steady and still. This is great for any kind of eye strain or to help steady your sight after an excess of use. After a minute or two, open your eyes.
In Ayurveda, as part of your daily routine (Dinacharya), we recommend taking cold water and splashing it into your eyes when you wake up in the morning. It provides a wonderful refreshing feeling after the night and helps to balance the eyes. Have you suffered recently from overuse of the eyes, eye strain, or generally feeling very hot in the eyes and the head? Simply take some cold cucumber slices from the
fridge, place them over your eyelids, and then lie down and relax. This can be extremely soothing and cooling for your eyes.
In Ayurveda, we also like the use of rose water. You can use a rose water spritz to mist it over your eyes, but please only do this if you know the rose water is really pure! As a natural remedy, rose water has anti-inflammatory and anti-infective properties, and
can also help prevent dryness in the eyes. (Do you want to make your own rose water? Click here to watch my YouTube tutorial!)